Traditional Spumoni Ice Cream Cake Recipe

For an elegant dessert that people will love, check out this recipe from Mackenzie Ryan that yields a rich, decadent delight. Spumoni may look familiar, since it resembles the classic ice cream known as Neapolitan. Both bear stripes of three different flavors and colors. Neapolitan ice cream features brown, pink, and white stripes in the flavors of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

Spumoni usually sports brown (or sometimes white instead), pink, and green. The brown happens to be chocolate, while the pink traditionally is cherry and the green, pistachio. White, if used, is usually vanilla. These tri-colored desserts are both delicious, but spumoni is more fanciful and considered to be a semifreddo, or milk sherbet. Traditional spumoni may contain chopped nuts or fruit. One thing's for sure: this dessert would be incredible served to guests for a special occasion.

Ryan tells us to "Whip out this cake for when you have the chance to enjoy the 'oohs and ahhs.'" Spumoni can be hard to find in stores and even at Italian restaurants, so "it feels that much more special. It makes a great treat for a birthday, a cookout, or for company." Ryan shared with us that "Spumoni is my husband's favorite ice cream, so any time that I make this it is like he's a little kid at his birthday party all over again. He gets so excited for it that he hypes up all three of our kids, and now when they hear I'm making it they don't stop talking about it for the two days it takes to put it together." 

Gather the ingredients

For a delicious dessert that serves eight, you'll need to pick up at the store a box of chocolate waffle cones that contains six or seven. You'll also need a stick of butter and 1-pint containers each of chocolate ice cream, cherry ice cream, and pistachio ice cream.

"I would actually recommend salted butter since the salt will help balance the sweetness. If you don't have salted butter, you could add 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt to the waffle cone mixture instead," Ryan explains.

Grab some heavy whipping cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. If you wish to create a spumoni dessert that's akin to the traditional version, you'll also want chocolate chunks, chopped dark cherries, and chopped pistachios. Some people have taken a twist on spumoni and converted it into a cheesecake and a pie, which you can try once you've mastered this amazing dessert.

Best type of ice cream to use

Spumoni ice cream is virtually impossible to find in the store, so the time spent on this recipe is "worth every minute," Ryan notes. "Even if you haven't had spumoni ice cream before, the layering of the flavors is the perfect summertime treat and you'll soon be converted. You really can't beat the combo of luscious chocolate, sweet cherries, and the nutty pistachio. They all complement each other so well," she says.

So when choosing the type of ice cream to use, Ryan notes that any kind will work, but full fat will offer the creamiest and tastiest option for this dessert.

"It also is less likely to get freezer burnt as there is less water content to freeze. This is something to be aware of if you choose to do dairy-free ice cream as well. Also, the pistachio is really hard to find in anything other than standard, full-fat form," she explains.

Crunch up the base of the spumoni

Take the chocolate ice cream out of the freezer and allow it to soften for 30 minutes. Place plastic wrap inside a one-pound loaf pan, leaving plenty of the plastic wrap hanging over the sides to help when you need to lift the dessert up out of the pan. Meanwhile, take six or seven chocolate waffle cones and grind them into small pieces.

"Thankfully, the waffle cones are already delicate, so they crush really easily. You can put them into a zippered bag and crush them by rolling a rolling pin over it, or you can use a food processor," Ryan tells us.

Stir in 4 tablespoons of melted butter and pour the mixture of cones and butter into the lined loaf pan. Use the bottom of a glass or a measuring cup to push the mixture flat.

Prepare the ice cream

If you're wanting your decadent dessert to more closely resemble a traditional spumoni, stir in ¼ of a cup of chocolate chunks into the chocolate ice cream and spread it in a layer over the waffle cone base. Cover and freeze this first layer for 30 minutes. While it freezes, take the cherry ice cream out of the freezer and allow it to thaw. Once it's softened, add in ¼ of a cup of chopped dark cherries. 

Pull the spumoni out of the freezer and spread the cherry ice cream in a layer over the chocolate. Pop it back into the freezer for 30 minutes. Take out the pistachio ice cream and allow it to soften. Stir in ¼ of a cup of chopped pistachios and layer this atop the cherry layer. Cover and freeze the dessert overnight.

The final step

The next day, grab a bowl and add in ½ of a cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Whip the ingredients until the mixture reaches stiff peaks. Remove the ice cream cake from the freezer and allow it to soften for 5 to 10 minutes or until you can gently lift it out of the loaf pan using the plastic wrap. Take off the plastic wrap and spread the whipped cream mixture alongside the top and sides of the cake. Use the additional chocolate chunks, cherries, or pistachios to garnish the spumoni dessert. Cut into 8 slices and serve.

"The whipped cream becomes almost a layer of its own rather than a garnish. You don't have to use all of it if you don't want, but think of it like making the swirl of whipped cream on top of a sundae, that stuff that gets piled high before the cherry on top. It's the same idea. Aim for about ¼- to ½-inch thick," Ryan says.

Need a larger cake?

If a loaf pan-sized spumoni ice cream cake won't provide enough rich, decadent dessert for your family or guests, you can use a springform pan instead. Increase the amount of ice cream you use for this recipe to the 1 1/2 quart-sized containers each instead. Be sure to triple the waffle cone ingredients, too, to make sure you have enough to cover the bottom of the springform pan.

"Even though the dessert takes roughly two days to be ready, don't be intimidated by that. The actual amount of work time is quite small, so the investment is more in making sure you start with enough of a head start to when you want to serve it and less the time you spend making it," Ryan says. She sure has convinced us!

Traditional Spumoni Ice Cream Cake Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
This DIY ice cream cake combines the traditional Italian spumoni flavors of chocolate, cherry, and pistachio ice creams in a delightful frozen treat.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
0
minutes
Servings
8
servings
slice of spumoni ice cream cake on cutting board
Total time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate ice cream
  • 6-7 chocolate waffle cones
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups cherry ice cream
  • 1 ½ cups pistachio ice cream
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional Ingredients
  • ¼ cup chocolate chunks, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped dark cherries, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped pistachios, plus more for garnish
Directions
  1. Let the chocolate ice cream soften at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a 1-pound loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of overhang on all sides.
  2. Meanwhile, grind the chocolate waffle cones into small pieces and stir in the melted butter. Pour it into the lined loaf pan and use the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to push it into a flat layer. Set aside.
  3. If using, stir the optional chocolate chunks into the chocolate ice cream. Spread the ice cream in a layer over the waffle cones. Cover and freeze for 30 minutes. While it freezes, let the cherry ice cream soften at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  4. If using, stir the optional chopped cherries into the cherry ice cream. Spread the ice cream in a layer over the chocolate ice cream until smooth. Cover and let freeze for 30 minutes while the pistachio ice cream softens at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  5. If using, stir the optional chopped pistachios into the pistachio ice cream. Spread the ice cream in a layer over the cherry ice cream. Cover the loaf pan and freeze overnight.
  6. Once the spumoni has frozen overnight, make the whipped cream topping. In the bowl of a mixer, whip together the heavy cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract on high until it reaches stiff peaks.
  7. Remove the ice cream cake from the freezer and allow it to soften for 5 to 10 minutes or until it can be lifted out of the loaf pan by the plastic wrap. Remove the plastic wrap and coat the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream. Garnish with additional chocolate chunks, cherries, or pistachios, if desired.
  8. Cut into 8 equal pieces and serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 298
Total Fat 19.7 g
Saturated Fat 12.2 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 65.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 20.9 g
Sodium 134.0 mg
Protein 3.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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